‘Hannibal’ Season 1, Episode 10 Review – Great Discoveries To Be Made

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Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal Buffet Froid Hannibal Season 1, Episode 10 Review – Great Discoveries To Be Made

It’s fitting that on a night when the episode dealt with a killer who, because of a mental illness, believes herself to be dead and needs to be constantly reminded otherwise, we learned NBC had finally made a second season order for Hannibal – effectively telling the show’s devoted fans that the series was, in fact, not dead either.

Great news aside, ‘Buffet Froid’ is an unusual episode that gives a distinctive look at what happens when Hannibal decides to tell its own version of a ghost story. To do this, the series brought in director John Dahl to perform the marriage of the show’s unique visual storytelling and heavy genre elements with a pervasive feeling that something vaguely supernatural is transpiring. And the resulting episode turned out to be one of the most atmospherically effective of the season, even if some of the narrative was more or less a retread of bits from earlier, and many of the parallels drawn between Will and the killer felt somewhat put on.

For the most part, Will’s sanity has continued to slip, causing no end of concern amongst his colleagues like Jack Crawford and Beverly Katz, and a seemingly inexhaustible amount of curiosity in his “friend” and therapist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Meanwhile, a killer with a similar inability to correctly perceive reality has recently murdered a young woman in her home, slicing her face open from ear to ear and attempting to peel the skin off as though it were a mask.

John Benjamin Hickey in Hannibal Buffet Froid Hannibal Season 1, Episode 10 Review – Great Discoveries To Be Made

In a terrifying opening sequence, a young woman named Beth Lebeaux watches while wet footprints appear on the ceiling above her bed, but a brief investigation leads her to conclude a gaping hole in her roof is the true culprit. Beth returns to her room only to be dragged underneath her bed and dispatched in a rather gruesome fashion by what we can only imagine is the boogeyman.

Of course, there’s nothing explicitly supernatural going on; it’s all grounded in the very specific reality the show has set up for itself. A woman named Georgia who, as Dr. Lecter correctly diagnoses, suffers from something called Cotard’s Syndrome – which causes those afflicted by it to incorrectly conclude that they are dead – killed Beth. Moreover, Georgia may also suffer from leprosy, and is unable to recognize faces (or perceive them at all, as we see at the end of the episode), leading her to lash out violently against world around her.

Like many of the other killers that have appeared on the show, Georgia’s particular condition is designed mostly to inform on the condition of Will Graham. As we’ve seen in recent episodes, Will has been experiencing increased hallucinations and episodes of time loss that are not necessarily associated with his empathetic disorder. As a result, Will has begun to question the world around him, making him at once a potential liability for Jack Crawford and an even more unique toy for Dr. Lecter.

Hettienne Park in Hannibal Buffet Froid Hannibal Season 1, Episode 10 Review – Great Discoveries To Be Made

The twist in the episode, however, comes from the discovery of the source of Will’s hallucinations. As it turns out, that moment a few weeks back when Lecter gave Will a pronounced sniff, he wasn’t considering whether the young man might be best served with a béarnaise sauce or what wine to pair with his succulent flesh; the good doctor was diagnosing an acute case of encephalitis. But rather than help Will, Lecter convinces his pal Dr. Sutcliff (John Benjamin Hickey) to forego treatment, so they may observe Will’s condition caused by, as Sutcliff put it, “[setting] his mind on fire.”

This presents an interesting turn of events that illustrates just how much control Hannibal has over these characters simply by creating the impression he is the sanest person in the room. As evidenced by the Will’s case of encephalitis and the fact that he remains in the dark about it, Hannibal has an authority over Will that’s unmatched by the romantic allure of Dr. Bloom, or even the supposed “bedrock” of Jack Crawford’s character. Will may have an empathetic disorder, but he’s not insane. But if left unchecked, the “fire” in his mind will continue to have far-reaching ramifications for everyone involved – not unlike the way Georgia’s mother expressed the grim realization that they only relief for her daughter would likely be through her demise. The hallucinations and loss of time have begun to define Will’s actions, and this belief they are caused by a mental illness rather than a physical one makes him even more unstable, and that affects the stability of those around him since so much emphasis has been put on his presence.

What this means for the larger picture, or the reveal of Hannibal’s “design” is yet to be known. Hannibal could simply be looking for a toy to play with, or this could all be leading to something bigger that traces back to the Chesapeake Ripper. Whatever he has in mind, it’s clear that, for the time being, Hannibal is in control.

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Hannibal continues next Thursday with ‘Roti’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview below:

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  1. I find it amazing how, despite knowing that Hannibal’s a killer, I keep finding myself thinking that he really does have some concern or care for Will. Then he does something to remind us he’s bad (like with this week’s episode). And then we see them in therapy again and it feels like he’s a good friend all over again. It’s cool, and a little unsettling. Props to Mikkelsen for doing the character justice. And Hugh Dancy’s Will is awesome too, I have to say. Considering how hard it’d be to be friends with him in real life, it’s a real credit to Dancy that you can make him that problematic and ultimately still very likeable. Glad they’ve renewed the show for a 2nd season.

    • I said from the beginning that he had some huge shoes to fill since Anthonie Perkins was the Hannibal we all knew….Frankly…I think he’s filled them and then went far beyond….This is Hannibal at his best. He’s a master at taking situations and twisting them with murder that is blamed on some other killer. He’s playing the altimet chess game with the FBI….and they’re clueless…

      • Damn…I guess I better proof before I send…Funny iPad didn’t catch those misspells

        • Also, and please don’t think I’m trolling for other commenters mistakes but it’s Anthony Hopkins, not Perkins. Wrong horror franchise. ;)
          As crazy as it sounds I do agree with you though.
          Having loved TSOFL I thought that Hopkins was brilliant, brilliant as Dr. Lector and my biggest concern going into this show was with Mikkelsen.
          With each episode though his portrayal of Hannibal impresses me more and more. I actually love that because his accent is so thick that we really have to concentrate on what he’s saying, it gives his words so much more impact.

          • Thanks for the correct. That’s pretty funny though….I guess if I’m going to use the wrong one then he’s a good substitute.

            • When you said Anthony Perkins I was wondering which movie you could possibly be referring to! But yeah, I think he’s done great. I was a little worried that, given how villainous he looks and all, it wouldn’t work – but somehow it just does. Mindblowing. And about the accent, yeah, to me it really adds to the character (despite making him slightly hard to hear sometimes).

      • Anthonie Perkins ? Think you mean Anthony Hopkins !!

      • Um, it’s Anthony HOPKINS, you. Pay attention!

  2. I understood Cotard’s Syndrome to be the inability to read faces which caused her to believe she is dead.

  3. Once again I have to say ” thanks a lot” to the makers of Hannibal for creeping me the ?**? out… The last scene when we couldn’t see Hannibal’s face was so damn creepy that it will be stuck in my head for a long while.

  4. This show might just be the most perfect thing on TV right now.

  5. Why do I get the feeling Will is going to be manipulated into killing for Hannibal?

  6. I never liked Sutcliffe. I knew him when we were children. He had a hiney and a fat face, and he was “after” me at school.

  7. I’m inclined to agree with Nick in terms of wanting to believe the best of Hannibal only to have the character remind us why we cannot trust him. Mads Mikkelsen has done an elegant job personifying an anti-hero and monster. There was a line of dialogue about Will over-empathizing and wanting to have a friend that made me think of Hannibal in the same way. He’s manipulating Will but I have to wonder if that isn’t his way of making a friend and controlling that person to strengthen the bond of friendship. Somehow that makes it even creepier. Not as creepy as seeing George hiding under Will’s bed, but still. Crawford’s bedrock speech made him far more likable and I think it will make for an interesting tug of war between him and Hannibal for Will.

  8. Had to wait until now to watch this episode on Hulu. I won’t say it was worth the wait because it’s the only show right now I’ll make time for to see live. I’m giving myself a partial pat on the back for the physical brain ailment Will suffers from. I should have known a tumor would be too obvious. But Nick is right, just about the time you think maybe Hannibal has some real human feelings towards Will he goes and does something to remind you what a true evil chess player he is.

    Was it just me or did anyone else crack a smile when the photo of Ellen Muth was passed to Jack and the mother said her name was George. Add to that she suffered from an affliction where she thought she was dead. That went beyond a Bryan Fuller wink or nod to Dead Like Me. I noticed on Muth’s IMDB page that she’s credited with three episodes of Hannibal so we haven’t seen the last of George. What intrigue awaits us? I’m anxious to see.